Team America: World Police
In its own way, Trey Parker and Matt Stone's "Team America: World Police" is shockingly politically correct. The reason is that Parker and Stone seem intent on balancing the parody precisely between the political left and the political right.
The whole marionette cast that makes up Team America runs around the world fighting terrorism and destroying everything in its path. The marionettes blow up the Sphinx, the Eiffel Tower, and a variety of other landmarks. Then they look around as though they expect the people to thank them. After all, they got the terrorists. It's an obvious commentary on the war on terror and the gung-ho idiocy of our politicians.
The left, meanwhile, is parodied through the left-wing actors representing the Film Actors Guild (F.A.G.). They're meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il for world peace, seemingly naive of Il's intention to blow up the world. The group is led by an Alec Baldwin marionette and includes a doll for just about every knee-jerk, socialism-spewing liberal in Hollywood: Martin Sheen, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Janeane Garafolo, Sean Penn, Samuel L. Jackson and Matt Damon, to name a few.
Granted, we're all sick of hearing Alec Baldwin and Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon talk about politics. They're fucking actors, yet they try to convey the sense that they're knowledgeable about something other than acting. The fact that anyone actually cares what these morons have to say is a sad, sad commentary on the state of voluntary thought in our country.
The thing is, these people pretty much mock themselves without any help from goofy marionettes (see also: Sean Penn) and the whole F.A.G. thread feels like it was forced into the film to provide "balance" to the picture. In other words, as you watch every joke about a right-wing wacko carefully counterbalanced with a joke about a left-wing wacko, you get the distinct sense that Parker and Stone are hedging their bets.
Though this sudden caution belies Parker and Stone's cultivated image of fearlessness, it appears in many different aspects of this film. What was reportedly originally a four-minute marionette sex scene is in the final cut pared down to 30 seconds. Apparently, the thought police in Hollywood couldn't stomach four minutes of marionette sex and in the end the thought police won. The fact that every voice in "Team America: World Police" sounds basically the same is a tribute to both Parker's stellar talent as a voice actor and his laser-like focus on the studio's bottom line. How hard is it, when you make 100 million dollars a year, to hire a few voice actors?
Parker and Stone want to be politically correct by stepping on everyone's toes and that's just as annoying as not wanting to offend anyone. Believing in something is always more interesting than believing in nothing.
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